Impostor syndrome, panic attacks, anxiety... my three daily rituals. I'm a creature of habit, what can I say?
My entire adult work life* has been plagued by anxiety: a sudden onset of sweaty palms, difficulty breathing, a racing heart beat, and the inability to think... about anything at all. A temporary experience that 100% prevents me from doing anything productive. Working in HR for a company scaling exponentially is no cake walk. Being in charge of the happiness for 300 people ("retention! engagement! culture!") carries a burden. Needless to say, a lot of the time, I'm a mess.
'But Lyndsey, you have three jobs and your Instagram indicates that you're generally pretty happy?' Why yes, dear reader, that's also a true statement. So, what gives? My three daily rituals:
A day doesn't go by where I don't think, "Lol. What am I doing here? I pretty much make shit up all day. What do I really know about anything?" Truth is, I'm actually winging it. But, here's the secret: everyone else is too. We're all here, existing, trying to do our best day in and day out. And that's all we can truly ask from one another.
I'm vulnerable, I make mistakes, I fail, I screw up, but I go to bed content, wake up and do it all over again. Because guess what, everyone else does too. Whether they want to admit or not, we're all winging it. If we could all be a little more patient, a little more humble, and a little more forgiving we could eliminate impostor syndrome all together. But until then, I'll think about it daily and remind myself one more time - we're all fakers. :D
These are a beast. Understanding every detail about my experience during a panic attack has revealed to me why these happen. For me, these little treats come out of nowhere and last anywhere from five minutes to an hour. The more my mind wanders to the next anxious thought the longer they last. About four years ago I asked the interwebz: "I broke. How fix me?" and the sweet, sweet ‘nets told me: "Meditation, gurrrl."
Dope! I downloaded an app, and sat on a chair with my eyes closed. For me, I never questioned whether I was doing it right or not because sitting with my eyes closed for 20 minutes just felt damn incredible. I wasn't looking at a screen, I wasn't checking my email, I wasn't trying to convince someone I'm smart (#impostorsyndrome). I was just being and allowing thoughts to come and go.
So, are panic attacks part of my daily ritual any more? Nah, but meditation is. It's my panic attack antidote.
We're all a little crazy. My crazy comes in the form of overthinking, overanalyzing, and imagining a thousand worst-case scenarios. But thanks to meditation, I'm aware of it. I can tell when my mind starts to create a million implausible stories, and then it's my conscious decision to continue going off the rails, or decide to focus my attention elsewhere. I'm in control. I still do all the anxious, crazy things but I'm doing them on my terms.
Lean in to the crazy. Embrace the fear. And know that not all rituals include perfect latte art.
*I've always rolled my eyes at the term "work-life balance". WTF is work-life balance? Why am I trying to balance work and life? Can't I just have... a life?
My answer: yeah dude, you can. But it takes work. You need to notice when you’re taking on too much, learn how to say no, and understand what gives you your energy back (even if that means laying on your kitchen floor with your dog eating peach rings and humming Cyndi Lauper - hypothetically speaking of course). I may have three “jobs” but it’s just one life to me. ✌